This is a time of abundant information (and misinformation), improvement tips, and evaluation tools concerning EQ (Emotional Intelligence) in the fields of counseling and psychology. As Christians, we need to biblically understand how to evaluate, process, challenge and maintain our emotional health.

Here are four key things you can do to develop and maintain emotional health.

1. EVALUATE YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Have you ever had a nagging physical health issue, or symptom, but you did not want to go to the doctor to get it checked out? Likewise, our emotional health is something that we may put off but often there are nagging issues and symptoms that we should not ignore. God addresses Cain’s emotional health in Genesis 4:6 when He asks, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” (NKJV) Jesus addresses the disciples’ emotional health in Matthew 8:26 when He said, “Why are you fearful…?” He also addresses emotional health in Matthew 6:28 when He said, “So why do you worry about…?” God is concerned about our emotional health and wants us to identify emotional issues and symptoms that may be holding us back from living healthy emotional lives.

Another example of God’s concern for emotional health and God’s addressing it in the life of one of His servants is found in Jonah. God wants Jonah to evaluate his emotional health. After Nineveh repents and God “relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them…” Jonah 4:1 says, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.” God appears to want Jonah to evaluate his anger when God says in verse 4, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Here are some questions that can help you evaluate your emotional health.

  • What may be keeping me from taking the time to evaluate my emotions?
  • When does anger, fear, worry or other emotions seem to get in the way of me responding to God and others in a healthy way?
  • Who seems to get hurt when my emotions cause me to respond in an unhealthy way?

2. PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

God goes on to help Jonah process his emotional health. God “prepared” a plant to grow that gave shade for Jonah, “so Jonah was grateful for the plant.” Then God “prepared” a worm to destroy the plant and Jonah, “wished death for himself.” God then helps Jonah process his emotional health by asking the same question with a twist, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” Jonah’s response is, “IT IS RIGHT FOR ME TO BE ANGRY, EVEN TO DEATH?”

Wow, see how our emotions can move us in an unhealthy direction. God used the plant to show Jonah how easily his anger could be triggered. God wants Jonah to see how his emotions had taken him to an unhealthy place and the text would imply that God wants Jonah to process the consequence of that unhealthy place. We too need this kind of processing of our emotions.

Here are some questions that can help you process emotions that move you in an unhealthy direction.

  • What seems to trigger my emotions in a negative way?
  • What damage may occur when my emotions drive me to say something I shouldn’t say or do something I shouldn’t do, or think something I shouldn’t think, or desire something I shouldn’t desire, etc.?
  • How do my emotional problems and issues drive me to be unreasonable with God and others?

3. CHALLENGE YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

God is not done yet with Jonah. In Jonah 4:10-11 God challenges Jonah and says, “You have had pity on the plant … should I not pity Nineveh…?” When our emotions take us away from the path that God has for us, we need to be challenged. God wanted Jonah to see things from God’s perspective and God is challenging Jonah to have a change in perspective. Change, as it relates to our emotional health can be difficult, but it is necessary when our emotional health has become unhealthy.

Here are some questions that may help you challenge your emotional health.

  • How has my emotional health become unhealthy?
  • What changes do I need to make to move toward emotional health?
  • How will my perspective need to change in order for me to respond to God and others in an emotionally healthy way?

4. MAINTAIN EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Maintaining our emotional health is also very important.

Here are some questions that may be helpful to ask on a regular basis.

  • How am I actively growing in emotional maturity?
  • What kind of plan do I have to maintain emotional health?
  • Who am I talking with about my emotional health and how are they helping me?
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Jim Meyer

Jim Meyer

Dr. Meyer is the director of Biblical Counseling Resources (BCR) a ministry of Pocono Evangelical Free Church offering biblical and pastoral counseling, mentoring, seminars, conflict mediation, and other resources to help the Christian leader. He has been working in the field of biblical counseling for many years. He was an associate professor teaching in Cairn University’s Master of Science in Counseling program for 23 years (17 years full time). He has pastored with the Evangelical Free Church of America since 1984 and currently co-pastors Pocono Evangelical Free Church with his son JJ. He has an extensive background in keynote speaking at conferences, seminar presentations, and preaching at churches. Dr. Meyer also offers biblical counseling for pastors and missionaries.
Jim Meyer

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